ACE to Buy Fireman’s Fund Personal Lines; Famous Brand Fading Away

Black silhouetted businessman walking one of three paths through Allianz Group has agreed to sell the U.S. personal lines business of its Fireman’s Fund unit to ACE for $365     million by means of renewal rights arrangement.

The merger of the personal lines business with ACE and the planned integration of the Fireman’s Fund commercial business into Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) will mean the fading away a brand name that has been in existence for more than 150 years. The Novato, California company was launched in 1863.

Allianz said the sale of the personal lines business, which is focused on high-net worth customers, allows it to focus on building its commercial P/C business across North America under the Allianz brand, creating a business with combined revenues that are expected to total over $3 billion, based on gross premiums written in 2013.

A new leadership team for this combined FFIC/AGCS business was announced on December 12, with AGCS board member Art Moossmann becoming CEO and president of both AGCS North America (AGCS NA) and FFIC beginning January 1, 2015.

Allianz said the FFIC commercial business will be integrated into AGCS NA, with all active product lines moving to AGCS. The company said this promises continuity of service for existing commercial policyholders and agents, while also presenting one brand to customers across all segments of the U.S. P/C market.

AGCS will also seek to build on the FFIC product range globally, targeting opportunities to use FFIC’s knowledge of entertainment and mid-corporate insurance in international markets.

Subject to legal and regulatory approval, Allianz said at the same time that it plans to ultimately separate and consolidate the legacy business of FFIC, including legacy asbestos and environment exposures, legacy workers’ compensation, and legacy construction defect liabilities, into a stand-alone company, San Francisco Re. Such a move requires regulatory approval.

ACE said the Fireman’s Fund business will be integrated into its existing high net worth personal lines business, ACE Private Risk Services, which offers coverage for homeowners, automobile, umbrella and excess liability, collectibles and yachts. In 2013, Fireman’s Fund had $891 million in personal lines gross written premiums and ranked third among insurers serving the U.S. high net worth consumer market.

The sale includes the renewal rights, reinsurance of existing liabilities, and access to a network of 1,100 agents and brokers, according to the announcement.

“High net worth personal lines remains a strategic growth area for ACE and ACE Private Risk Services has quickly established itself in this space,” said Evan G. Greenberg, chairman and CEO, ACE Limited. “The addition of the personal lines business of Fireman’s Fund will reinforce and advance ACE’s position as a premier provider of insurance to the high net worth market. We are proud to welcome their valued clients and producers to our company.”

In 2007, ACE acquired the high net worth business of Atlantic Mutual.

The parties expect that the transaction, which is subject to legal and regulatory approval, will be completed in the second quarter of 2015.

“These latest moves will complete the picture of the reconfiguration of our property and casualty insurance business in the United States with a strong footprint in commercial insurance,” said Axel Theis, incoming member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE. “The sale of the Fireman’s Fund personal insurance business will give it a larger scale and ensure its continuity for brokers and policyholders. ACE is a highly respected global insurer with a vision to grow this business, capitalizing on its strength and strong reputation in the market. With this transaction Allianz will also gain capital efficiencies by releasing capital allocated to the personal insurance risks. In addition, we will use the proceeds to finance the restructuring of the Fireman’s Fund commercial P/C business. Taken with the creation of the new run-off carrier San Francisco Re, these measures enable Allianz to focus its energies even more strongly on successfully integrating the Fireman’s Fund commercial business into AGCS.”

Allianz bought Fireman’s Fund in 1991 for more than $3 billion as it looked to expand in the U.S.

Allianz has been providing financial services through its affiliated companies in the United States since 1896. At the end of 2013, in the United States the Allianz Group employed 9,000 people and generated $21 billion in revenues.

With operations in 54 countries, ACE provides commercial and personal property/casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance.

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